Funnyman Jonah Hill (Superbad) is not only a talented actor (he’s getting Oscar buzz on his portrayal of Peter Brand in Moneyball) but he is also a writer. As a kid, he wanted to write for The Simpsons and SNL. Well now, he’s the co-creator, co-writer, executive producer and voices to the lead in new Fox’s animated series called Allen Gregory.
The comedy series follows the wise-beyond-his-years, pretentious seven-year-old, Allen Gregory, who lived a charmed pre-school life hanging out with Sandra Bullock, allegedly composed operas, written novels and dated Chloë Sevigny. Raised in the lap of luxury, his family has fallen on hard times when one of his two dads made bad investments. He is forced to leave the safety of his other dad’s homeschooling and attend to public school with children his own age as his dad, Jeremy, decided to go back to work.
His mature ways make it hard for him to fit in as in his first day of school he sits down at lunch with his Louis Vuitton picnic basket, pulls out some sushi and a bottle of pinot grigio, and asks the kids if they caught Charlie Rose. He promptly gets food thrown at him. His struggle to adjust is not limited to his classmates as he clashes with the faculty as well. His first meeting with his much-older principal takes a special (and somewhat creepy) turn.
He may have a hard time at school but at home (a stunning architectural loft), he is the apple of his doting father’s eye. Allen and his dad, Richard, have an extraordinary father-son bond that is sometimes annoyingly interrupted by Richard’s boy toy/life partner, Jeremy. He is pampered by his fathers, much to the chagrin Julie, adopted Cambodian older sister.
Allen Gregory joins the list of cartoon kid geniuses. But while Dexter (Dexter’s Lab) was all about inventing cool gadgets in his secret lab while trying to evade his annoying sister, Stewie (Family Guy) who’s obsessed with world domination and matricide, Jimmy Neutron is about having fun adventures with his friends and Zim (Invader Zim) was all about invading Earth (okay, so technically Zim’s an alien but he pretended to be a kid)… Allen Gregory, at the heart of his story is about an outsider, who may put on a tough exterior but deep down, when all he wants is to fit in. Well, that, and for Julie to run away and never be seen or heard from again. And Jeremy, too.
The premise, a fish-out-of-water kid, might not be original but the eclectic characters makes it an interesting show. I’m fascinated with how more and more TV kids have same sex parents like Lily of Modern Family and Rachel of Glee. And the adopted Cambodian older sister? How very Brangelina. This looks like a promising show and the fact that it’s an animated series, it can get away with things that regular shows can’t.
October 30, 2011 (SUNDAYS), 8/7c on FOX